Interaction Between The Two Approaches

Abnormality in the processing of goal-attainment and reward is a common feature of the two models; indeed, the two approaches complement each other. In the case of BAS elevation and hypomania, extreme goal-attainment attitudes may promote goal-striving activity that would lead to further elevations in BAS level. High BAS activation results in greater attentional focus upon reward as well as increased optimism, which may confirm goal-attainment attitudes such as, "If I try hard enough, I should be able to excel at anything I attempt".

With regard to lowered BAS activity, attitudes such as "I should be able to control what happens to me" and "I should be happy all the time" will intensify the feelings of failure that might result from the low mood and the subnormal energy and motivation levels that accompany a decrease in BAS level. These feelings of failure are proposed to decrease BAS level further, perpetuating the cycle.

We propose that vulnerability to BAS dysregulation serves as a biological diathesis in bipolar affective disorder, and that this vulnerability may even distinguish those individuals prone to developing bipolar affective disorder from those who are not. Extreme goal-attainment beliefs are proposed to interact with the course of the illness, because people with these beliefs will be likely to engage in behaviour that could precipitate the development of an episode. Correspondingly, the very experience of mania or depression may well serve to generate and reinforce particular beliefs, even at an early stage in the course of the illness.

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